Monday, March 7, 2011

Falling on My Face in Prayer

Some days, an aura settles down around me like a blanket of fog that is frightening and debilitating. The fogginess makes me stay away from the world indefinitely out of fear. All the while, I really want to be out in the world doing what I need to do and living my life--progressing. I don't know what it is that makes a person feel that way. But when I finally got outside at 5 pm, things did not get better.

Blu saw me and began to walk toward me when I came out of the house. As I walked through the barn, I was trying to think of what to do with him. When I came to the aisle that leads out to the door, I felt frozen--a severe form of hesitation, in this case. I walked slowly down the aisle with a multitude of pauses. At the door, I could not get myself to open the door. It was the most irrational fear. I wasn't afraid of Blu or for my life, I was just afraid of doing the wrong thing. Even as I felt the fear, I knew that you can't do the wrong thing--that if you don't know whether it's wrong or right, then you are just experimenting. Maybe I should have told myself that a bit more firmly.

At any rate, Blu came right to me when I finally got out the door. He was exceptional for haltering. He was attentive, cooperative, and helpful. He followed me to the round pen. He did not walk straight off with me into the round pen, so I waited until he was walking with me then turned back around with him and shut the gate.

First I played the yoyo game with him. You might recall that the comeback is broken. We were on the 23' line. I focused first on keeping him straight. He wanted to turn and circle. I just did as little as I could as early as I could to keep him straight. I would back him up until he relaxed. I did not worry about keeping my feet still--his confidence was in trouble, so dominance was not important. Finally he began to get relaxed faster and was not getting tight. I was able to keep my feet still. His comebacks were excellent compared to what they have been. I also did not hesitate to move my feet, though. I ended when he backed all the way to the end of the line and came back with lightness and softness. Then I took off his halter and did a yo-yo at liberty. I had to move my feet back a bit to draw him back in, but before, he could not come back at all, so I was very happy with that.

I stood with Blu for a bit, focusing on shutting down the output and just absorbing the environment. He reached around and nosed my knee once--a forceful precursor to biting for him. I had my arm over his shoulder, but was otherwise still. He began to walk around, and I did a sort of passenger lesson from the ground.

Then it hit again. I did not know what to do. I walked around a moment. Blu watched me every now and then, but was preoccupied with an exposed patch of scrub. The feeling was that of loss. I sat on a barrel. Memories began to flood into my mind like a roll of film. Blu was so eager and cooperative in the beginning of our Parelli journey. We had rough patches, but I remember how he used to wait at the end of the line during the yo-yo, completely fixated on me, waiting intensely for me to lightly signal him to come back to me. When I did, he would come back immediately. I remembered when he was at liberty out in the open running to me, playing with me. I remembered when he jumped the barrels for me. When we won our jumping class at fair. I saw him fall down on me when he was cantering in the morning and felt the feeling of realizing we needed to scratch the first class so I could help him through his mental/emotional collection problems so he could find physical collection. I remembered riding with nothing--no sticks, no strings, no reins, no bridle, no saddle--in perfect circles, transitioning between fast canters and slow canters then speeding into a slide stop. I saw flashes of him following me eagerly away from his buddies to come with me to play.

I don't know if I was wondering how we got away from that or if I was worried we would never get back to those things. At any rate, I whistled to Misty in the other pasture and she began to search for me. When she saw me, she began to come to me. I got up and met her. I apologized for leaving her behind. Then I stood in a puddle with her and talked to her and to myself for a while--almost 20 minutes. The instant I left the round pen, Blu looked up and followed me. When I came back with Misty in tow, Blu was waiting with this head over the fence. I cut a panel string so I could squeeze Misty in. She was really good at squeezing under the wire and through the open panel.

After tying the panel back on, I began to play with Misty and Blu. I watched as Misty protected her space from Blu's snooping nose. Then I moved them in a circle around me. Misty was trying to connect with me and when I invited her in, she came right in. Blu seemed to be affected by her draw to me and his draw felt better. I played with sending them in opposite directions and changing their directions. Misty continued to be very drawn to me.

When the two of them were moving together nicely, I drew them both back and they came in together. Now I moved on to stick to me. Blu was on the outside and I was in the middle. At first, I lost them both because Misty reached across me to bite at Blu and they both sped ahead. I just kept going along. Blu got back with me. We lapped around Misty. Each time we passed her, I was inviting her to join us. She was not getting it, though, so I put a string around her throat latch and tried it again. Blu was doing awesome on the outside; he was doing a lot of blowing. First thing I did was give a good solid message to Misty that she was not to poke at Blu by swinging the stick up in front of us when she tried to reach across me again. Blu was cantering on the outside track and I was focusing on both him and Misty. Misty was having difficulty with the inside and not getting ahead or falling behind. When I would cut in close to make her track smaller, Blu was right on my right shoulder, still cantering, not trying to bite me, just keeping up. When Misty got light on the string, I let go of it. We three went a lap like that and then I stopped and everyone stopped with me. We stood together for a while.

I put on Blu's halter and put the string on Misty again. She was facing me and was cooperative as I slid the loop back on her. We maneuvered the gate carefully. I was concious of their position to one another and how that would affect them. It all went very smoothly. Leading them through the barn, Misty now with a halter hackamore on, went off without a hitch as well.

I mounted Misty from the picnic table. She immediately sidled up next to it when I stood on it. She was excited as we walked to the grazable grass behind the barn. We found a great deal of relaxing to be had, back there.

On the way back, both horses were much calmer. I dismounted and let Misty back into the pasture. She left nicely--a soft leave after a proper good-bye. I let Blu stay in the aisle. I put hay down and began chores. Griswald the kitten got stepped on and I prayed for him. His limp went away and he stopped going into shock. The incident shook me out of my happy stupor and made me really reflect on the time with the horses. What had I been doing? What was wrong with me, today? I prayed on my face and felt much more clear afterward. Blu came to me while I was getting grain around. I took him around to his stall and gave him his dinner.

Yes, things felt much better. I went to bed directly after chores. I was planning on just lying down and recuperating a bit. But as I lay there, I decided to just stay and sleep. It was only 8 pm, but what a trying day. My gramma woke me up at 1 am to make her bed, but it was a good sleep.

Now, I had this post to March 7th, but today is March 8th. That means I have had a day to reflect on it. Also, today is here, as in yesterday's tomorrow is here. What will I do today in respose to yesterday? Well, I got up at 7 am and did chores, so the horses should be ready to play any time now. But before I go, I am going to have a plan. I am going up stairs to clean up a bit then it's off to the horses.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

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About Me

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I am a young horsewoman with a million things on my mind. I have been a student of the horse all my life. As a little girl, I had a desire to understand horses on deeper levels. I believed that there was no such thing as a bad horse, and I believed that all horses were beautiful. One might say that I was a naive child, but I guess I don't have an excuse anymore, because I still believe all of that, and Parelli Natural Horsemanship is helping expand on this perspective.

What We Are Currently Playing With

  • Moving Close Circles at Liberty
  • Soft, Balanced Canter on 45' Line
  • Zone 5 Driving